Feature: Fleet Feet South Loop Has Reopened: Meet Angela Swain, the New Store Manager

With the reopening of Fleet Feet South Loop, meet Angela Swain, the store’s new manager. You may have heard her on the Keeping Pace podcast or seen her lead the Fleet Feet Running Club events from the store.

We talked to Angela about what inspires her, the one running shoe she could bring back from the dead, her experience at a recent drive-in music concert, how she gets the most out of the people around her, and more.

Read the full interview and reserve a time to shop at Fleet Feet South Loop.

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Talk to me about last night. What did you do last night? It looked fun. 

That was fun! So there was a drive-in concert. It was the first one that Lake Shore Drive-In has done, which, we won’t be going to another one.

Let’s get into it.

So the tickets were $25. It was Mick Jenkins and Ric Wilson. We pulled up, and they were like “we see your tickets, but do you have a car pass?” A car pass was $110. We thought we could get a bunch of general admission tickets and get a car pass and fill up the car. That’s how we read it. But, you needed a car pass and a general admission ticket for each person in the car. And I was like “that makes no sense”. 

Did you feel safe?

Yea, so your parking spot was kind of your area. Then they had an empty parking spot next to you, and then another car. So there’s plenty of space and there are no cars in front of you or behind you. It felt very safe in terms of COVID stuff. And it was very fun to sit on your car and enjoy a concert. I haven’t been able to do that. 

It was weird because there’s always that moment when the artist wants the crowd to sing the lyrics and we couldn’t do that because there weren't enough people out there! (laughs)

How did you get into running?

I started running in middle school. I was 11 years old when I started to run. I didn’t really have any other options that made sense for me. There was volleyball and basketball but I didn't’ see myself being good enough for those because I was still really short. And I had two older sisters that ran so I was a bit familiar with the sport but not really. And my middle school only had cross country so I started off as a distance runner because they didn’t have a track team. 

Why do you run now?

Now it’s fun. In middle school, it was fun because it was middle school and your friends did it. In high school it wasn’t much fun but winning was fun. In college, it’s kind of what I did because I wanted to see how good I could be. But now, it’s like, it’s just fun to push yourself and find your limits and set different physical goals and still be competitive even though I’m just competing against myself and a clock.

What is your favorite aspect of the sport of running?

It is one of the most accessible sports. For instance, I’ve seen people running down the street in cotton t-shirts and sweatpants and Jordans. People can always start to run in something that they have. I like how it brings a lot of different people together. A lof us share a similar experience in running although our times may be completely different. Like I know what it’s like to have a bad workout and I can relate to other people even though they’re way faster than me or slower than me. 

I like that sometimes on my really long runs, which I hated long runs in college, I just kind of forget that I’m even running. You get in such a groove and pace that it just feels so natural and relaxed and at some point, I’m just kind of looking around at stuff. 

That doesn’t happen to me that often.

It doesn’t happen that often, but that’s what makes it so cool. 

Have you picked up any new hobbies since the pandemic?

Drawing a little bit. 

What are you drawing?

My dad. I’m drawing a picture of my dad. From a picture, not from my mind.

What medium?

I’m using charcoal pencils. There are different grades of charcoal. 

How has this pandemic affected your life?

It’s not as much fun. Every year I try to go somewhere and travel and I can’t. I can’t plan any trips, which I do every year. I’m dancing a lot less. I like to go out and dance every once in a while. Other than that it hasn’t changed that much because I’ve been working the whole time and I’ve never been one to eat out all the time. I already cooked so it’s not like I learned how to cook. 

If there is one shoe that you can resurrect what would it be and why?

The Brooks Pure Flow 4. I would resurrect that shoe. It was so great. It was the best training shoe ever. Man, that shoe was just gold. You could run forever. 

Do you have quotes or philosophies when it comes to managing people? To get the best out of people.

One is just to come from a point of understanding. So like, whether someone is doing something that I think is right or wrong, I try to understand why they did what they did or said what they said or whether they’re coming from or what their experience is. Understanding that, you’re in a better position to help them improve. Start by listening and then try your best to understand where they are coming from.

What was your first job?

I worked at Costco! I gave out free samples at Costco. I was 19. I thought it was so much fun because everybody liked to see me. And Costco is actually great. In Michigan, at that time, the minimum wage was like $7.25 an hour and Costco was paying $11.50 to give our free samples and I was like “this is dope!”

What inspires you?

Black people. 

Why?

I really like history. I was one of those kids who sat and watched the History Channel for hours. Our history here, alone,  is inspiring and how constantly being in a place that tells you you can’t be who you are and still having a huge influence on culture.

Resiliency. 

Exactly. And that’s really cool. And then I think about all the people who haven’t had the experience that I have had because of systemic racism. I feel like I’ve been lucky or privileged even among Black people, so, I think about all the people who haven’t been given the opportunities I have had, or, my same experience and that kind of makes me want to help bring some of that to them.

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